Many people assume that they should start their exercise routines with some stretching on the spot in hopes it will loosen them up for their workout. New research has now confirmed this kind of static stretching before exercise is not just counter-productive, but potentially harmful.
This confusion exists because stretching often causes the muscles to tighten rather than relax. This is exactly the opposite of what is needed for physical activity. This is like pulling a rubber band to it limits and then expecting it to perform normally afterwards.
When you stretch before exercising, your body may believe it’s at risk of being overstretched. Since our bodies are such intelligent machines, it therefore compensates by contracting and becoming more tense in an effort to protect itself from harm. The end result is you are not able to move as fast or as freely, making you more likely to get hurt.
While stretching is important to your overall health the ideal time to perform the activity is AFTER a workout. The activity to perform before a workout is a 5 to 10 minute warm up to help get the blood moving and increase body temperature.